Reading Response: On Going Home

Write a reader’s response to “On Going Home.”
How does Didion define home?
How does she explore her own personal complicated relationship to her home in her writing? Look at both
how she write about her actions and also her thoughts (the style AND the content). How would you describe Didion’s relationship to her home? Then,
Why is she writing about home this way? What meanings or messages does writing about and thinking about home the way she does help her transmit?THEN, write a couple of paragraphs exploring the complicated relationship you have with your home in the same personal, memory-driven style Didion uses to explore hers. Use details from your memory to help drive your response. Avoid generic or cliché statements about who you are, your family, and the place you’re from, and instead, practice getting personal. This means exploring information and stories that are not general and that apply to only you, not to anybody else. Also, this is not a diary entry, which means—write about specific memories and specific things. Try not to spend too much time on abstract ideas that are not rooted in concrete memories. Imitate Didion to whatever extent you feel most comfortable. You may imitate her style closely to help you develop your own style, or you may simply emulate her style of using specific memories to explore her relationship with her home.

THEN, write a response to your own paragraphs: which of Didion’s methods/ideas/themes/etc. did you use to help you explore your own relationship to your home? Which did you not use? How has reading “On Going Home” helped you to better write about your relationship to your home in a productive, critical way?

THEN, MOST IMPORTANTLY: write about how this understanding of Didion’s way of writing about her home might help you answer our class question: “What can home mean?” Why is ‘home’ important to her (and other writers)? How do they use home, or place and setting in general, to help them make meaning?

This is a reading response to Joan Didion’s essay “On Going Home,” so make sure that you read the essay BEFORE writing this assignment. Responses should be about 2 pages long (double-spaced) but can certainly be longer.

NOTE: You can think of this as pre-writing for the critical essay. In fact, you could USE some of this in the Critical Essay!

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